COUNTY Times music critic Jess Needham interviews American electro house musican Steve Aoki at his home in Los Angeles.
Jess caught up with the legendary record producer ahead of this August Bank Holiday's large dance festival, Creamfields.
Creamfields features numerous top DJs and live acts at its base in Daresbury, Cheshire, just outside of Liverpool, and will this year take place from Friday, August 24 until Sunday, August 26.
Hey Steve, so where are you in the world right now?
Well I'm in France right now, pretty jet lagged.
So what are your musical influences?
When producing music my influences are kind of everything around me, like my roots being hardcore music. I was into hardcore, straight edge bands when I was a teenager. I used to play guitar, vocals, stuff like that
What's your favourite music is to play live?
When I'm in a club setting I'll pay certain kinds of music, to please my audience, but when I'm playing festivals I'm playing a massive range of the music I produce. I played Global Gathering which was really cool, Get Loaded SW4, I played in Dublin and Manchester and Birmingham so I've been to the UK a lot. I haven't really done the rock festivals yet like Glastonbury, I do a lot of festival touring in Europe but I'm starting to do more in the UK
What are your thoughts on Dub-Step?
Of course I'm influenced by dub step and I'm really into all kinds of music, it doesn't really matter as long as it works. Regardless if its commercial or underground
What do you think of Creamfields in comparison to other festivals?
This will be my first set at Creamfields, I've done Cream party and I'm playing the Creamfields festival in Spain on Saturday. For me playing in the UK is really really important because its like one of those places I haven't toured that much so doing something like Creamfields which is a really respected festival, its insane how many DJ's are playing, I can't wait!
What tour dates have you got coming up?
I'm literally touring straight through pretty much to the end of the year, this is actually my only day off! Its been so hectic so just going to chill in my hotel tonight. I'm playing a festival tomorrow close by then heading over to another in Germany and then I head over to Spain to do Creamfields, then fly back to LA
Wow you are so busy, do ever get time to rest?
Being on the road, you just learn how to like deal with little sleep. Once you're in that rhythm you just jump into it, I do like 250 show a year for the last 5 years...so its been pretty hectic, but it doesn't feel that long.As long as you have a good crew around you, have a good tour crew and I have amazing staff, Dimmak , which are my company back home in LA, so they all help me get through
What do you prefer, old school vinyl or CDJ's?
I have a very expensive record collection, thousands of records, but I don't play them anymore because its more about efficiency and access, when your playing out you need to have the most efficient means to play out everything and plus I'm adding a lot more technology to my sets, like I have video with my music and there's no way you can do that by just playing vinyl. The creative aspect of my tunes is really important, its also a really big part of the interpretation of my music so being involved in the direction of my videos is really important to me
So Steve, where are you from originally?
I'm been in LA for over 10 years but I'm a southern Californian boy, went to school in Santa Barbara, the furthest I've left my nest is New York because my Dad was there
Are you planning on coming to Mid Wales anytime soon?
Well I've never really been there but we should definitely stay in touch and if you ever come to any of my shows we should hang out!
Wow, that would be awesome, thank you Mr Aoki! So last question, how would you sum up your musical style?
I'm always evolving as a producer and an artist and DJ, I really have no boundaries. I take elements from all kinds of genres from dub step to electro to even trance to Drum and bass, I really take a lot of elements from all these different worlds. People identify me as an electro artist because the majority of my beats are 4 on the floor, like 130 BPM